Federal debt for ITT Technical Institute loans to be forgiven

Christopher Myers began a program at the Dunmore campus of ITT Technical Institute in 2014. He was expected to graduate in December 2016.

“In September 2016 they told us not to come back,” Myers said.

In September 2016, ITT Tech, a for-profit university group, folded and closed its 130 campuses. Seven such campuses existed in Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and two in suburban Philadelphia.

But on August 16, the Biden administration wrote off nearly $4 billion in federal debt for about 208,000 students who attended ITT Tech between 2005 and 2016. The announcement came after the government’s decision in June according to which students attending another for-profit college group, Corinthian Colleges Inc., would see $5.8 billion of its debt forgiven.

Overall, Myers said her experience wasn’t too bad, despite the school disbanding. He now has a job in his field. But, when Myers first went to see ITT Tech Dunmore, he said he felt a little rushed.

“Like a little under pressure, trying to get people through the door,” he said.

Myers ended up receiving course credit through ITT Tech for its Computer Networking Systems program. The school wanted students to transfer these credits to nearby Luzerne County Community College to complete their education.

Myers didn’t feel the need to complete his education at the local community college, as he was already working in his field. Because the ITT Tech campus folded before his graduation date, Myers already qualified for a type of loan forgiveness through the for-profit group.

In a statement from the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary Miguel Cardona said, “Evidence shows that for years ITT leaders intentionally misled students about the quality of their programs in order to take advantage of federal programs for student loans, regardless of the hardship it would cause.”

A former ITT Tech Dunmore executive did not immediately respond to the comments.

In addition to ITT Tech and Corinthian College schools, the Department of Education has also taken steps to clear debt for students who have attended Kaplan Career Institute programs and DeVry University schools.

August 24 President Joe Biden has announced a broad but targeted federal plan to cancel student loans. Most borrowers earning less than $125,000 would see a $10,000 discount if approved. Under that same plan, Pell Grant recipients could see up to $20,000 discharged if approved.

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